Recent Work: Crawling With Art in Morgan Hill
Approximately one year after the Morgan Hill City Council approved two public art installations by artist Gordon Huether, they now adorn the new parking structure between Third and Fourth Streets. Gordon Huether Studio was part of a design and build team that submitted a proposal package in response to the City of Morgan Hill’s request for proposals for the parking garage. The design team, made up of Gordon Huether Studio, F+H construction and WMB architects, worked closely with the City of Morgan Hill to ensure a successful project outcome.
Poppy Jasper, Morgan Hill’s ubiquitous gemstone, was the inspiration for the translucent enclosure, wrapping around the parking structure’s stairwell. Facing the Third Street Plaza. Poppy Jasper features the vibrant reds, oranges and yellows of the gemstone that is said to have healing properties. By celebrating this hometown gemstone, the artwork also promotes a strong local identity of the community of Morgan Hill. The stairwell is illuminated, which gives the Poppy Jasper installation a lantern-like glow. The artwork, executed by internationally recognized artist Gordon Huether, conveys joyful light and color as well as warm beauty.
The second installation entitled ‘Tarantula’, “is designed to be whimsical and cheerful”, Huether states. The annual migration of tarantulas, who are native to Santa Clara County, is celebrated here in Morgan Hill at Henry Coe State Park each October with the ‘Tarantula Festival’. The Tarantula installation subverts the tarantula’s fearsome presence by reimagining it as an amusing, three-dimensional arachnid crawling up the façade of the Parking Structure’s Fourth Street entrance. The installation is composed of hundreds of vintage-style headlights for the spider’s body and is adjoined by eight vibrantly red powder-coated waterjet cut aluminum, outstretched legs. Tarantula, executed by internationally recognized artist Gordon Huether, is not only a humorous addition to the Parking Structure, but also celebrates nature’s beauty through artwork that radiates with light and color.
Tarantula has a diameter of approximately 12 feet and the glass panels for Poppy Jasper measure 26’H x 19’W and 26’H x 11’W. The total art budget for these two art pieces is $425,000, the biggest art investment in Morgan Hill’s history. “We are very fortunate that the winning bid for this design-built-273-space parking garage project happened to have the biggest art budget, with a world-renowned artist” says Edith Ramirez, Economic Manager for the City of Morgan Hill.”
In addition to Gordon Huether’s works of art, the City of Morgan Hill has approved over a dozen placemaking and art projects, awarding approximately $300,000 for a wide range of permanent and temporary art installations. The projects ranged from murals and sculptures to street furniture, decorative sidewalks and tree lighting.
“Our goal is to enliven public spaces with visual art and promote arts and culture within the community, making downtown the community’s playground.” said Mayor Steve Tate. These efforts are part of the Downtown Placemaking Investment Strategy where the City just invested $25 million of former RDA bond monies to improve Downtown by adding a parking structure, 2 parks, a trail, a public plaza and other needed infrastructure improvements. Ms. Ramirez, believes that these art installations and placemaking efforts will promote economic vitality, attract visitors and enliven Downtown, creating a unique experience for residents and visitors alike.